A public employee is using taxpayer resources to argue against school choice reform supported by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and more than half of Texas voters.

In an aggressive move last week, Randal O’Brien, Superintendent of Goose Creek Consolidated ISD, released a video to “update” district employees on education-related legislative items.

But in truth, O’Brien’s “update” was little more than a political hit piece against school choice legislation; primarily Senate Bill 3 by State Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood).

SB 3—this session’s preeminent School Choice bill – would expand education options by creating Education Savings Accounts. ESAs are a tool that would allow the funds allocated to each student to follow them to schools and programs of their choice.

O’Brien’s video essentially serves as the district’s legislative agenda, as he labeled it an update on the “district’s stances,” on key legislative items. It is also the sole item on GCCISD’s legislative session page.

“It’s my personal belief that this is a turning point for public education in Texas. We’ve been insulted by elected leaders in Austin for far too long, who shout out sound bites about ‘failing school’ and frankly they’re doing a pretty good job of convincing the public that the sky truly is falling,” said O’Brien. “Even if what they say is false, or at best misleading, it’s going to take all of us to tell the real story, what really happens in our schools, I urge you to join me in standing up for our schools, our jobs, and most importantly for our children.”

GCCISD has a reported history of valuing employment over students, and their ‘position’ on education reform issues appear to be taken almost verbatim from releases by tax-funded lobby organizations such as Texas Association of School Boards and Texas Association of School Administrators.

Also found on O’Brien’s “legislative items” page is a boilerplate script for constituents to use for email or phone messages to let their legislators know they oppose education freedom.

The half-truths put out by GCCISD and other school districts to discredit parental choice amount to nothing more than public employees attempting to stifle competition and maintain the status quo.

Study after study has shown that choice in education not only provides alternative options for families, but also induces competition among public school districts thereby improving their quality.

Support for parental choice does not mean opposition to public education, but it does mean support for holding educators and administrators accountable. Choice would force public administrators to put more focus on education and less on maintaining their own cushy positions and salaries for fellow bureaucrats.

Options increase opportunity and it is time for Texas children from rural areas to urban areas to have a chance at choice.

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Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.